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we sat down with him yesterday. when he came out of high school he called himself a late bloomer. he wasn't recruited by university of oh wisconsin so he started at central michigan. they play good football. no two ways about that. but he said his life long dream was to play for the badgers. so he walked away from a scholarship at central michigan. he just alluded to his father, a firefighter. he didn't grow up with a pile of money in the family. here he was on a full scholarship. he said, you know, i'll try to walk on at wisconsin. that's exactly what he did and became an all big ten selection. now an all world performer on the field and off the field. >> brian: i have been asked this question several times. was asked this week. if i were to start a
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franchise who are the first two players i would take. you start with a quarterback, but defensively it's j.j. watt. that's a lot to say when you are talking about an inside defensive lineman. what that does. you know, normally you think of pressure from the outside. big pass rush guys. to have that presence on the inside and going out allows you to do so many more things on the outside. well deserved as the defensive player of the year last year. this guy beyond we being a great player you're right. >> thom: there is a humbleness about watt that's so infrequent in society today. he is as wisconsin and midwest tough and humble as it gets. >> brian: he loves the fans in texas. he said, i can't go out anymore. i love the enthusiasm. but he takes back doors into
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restaurants. he took the defensive line out to play miniature golf. imagine a bunch of 6'5", 300 pounders out playing miniature golf. there was no one there. by the time they got done they had to jump the fence over the 9th hole to get home. >> thom: that's a nice catch by cadet. he has the first down all the way to the 30. sean payton wasn't around when cadet made a move after winning a roster spot last year. >> brian: this is a fresh look for sean payton. this is a young man that garnered their attention. we talk about whether it's the running back position. wide receiver. when you break down the roster you will carry that 5 272nd, 53 b man on the roster. you won't lock yourself in to a certain ratio by
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position because, as i earlier. he's ep heing himself as a running back here. there was speculation that because payton never had seen him front and center all of last year and the preseason robinson, a college free agent out of west texas a & m. those two might be duking it out for a spot. again, that was not an easy catch out of the back field. he's made two nice catches on the drive. >> brian: you can see even now still they are rolling people through. that's classic sean payton, new orleans saints.
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he said, these are important reps for sean payton. the first to say i got out of a play calling rhythm. he's stretching himself to make sure he's in the regular season rhythm come the opener against atlanta. >> thom: we'll play this drive for the saints. in front 24-23. trying to add to it. ryan griffin, the rookie out of tulane. sets up a screen.
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>> brian: that was classic. he was turning and running before the ball got there. the ball is coming out late like that. a bunch of people breathing down your neck. you can see right there coach said, keep your eye on the ball. keep your hands together, eye on the ball. >> thom: that guy is keeping an eye on you. >> brian: nonstop. >> thom: 11:05 to play on a third down and 8. good protection. great throw. once more there is tanner for the second time today with a touchdown reception. out of mid western state. >> brian: this is a great slow and catch. i think a broken route would have two people in the same area. look at him reach over the top. if the ball were a half inch lower it
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would have been knocked down. if it were a half inch higher it wouldn't have been a catch. great throw, phenomenal catch. >> thom: right over the outstretched hand and fingers of d.j. swearinger, rookie from south carolina. we talked about tanner. 33 times in his bio, released, signed, re--signed. here he is today. fighting for his football life with a pair of touchdown receptions.
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today's game is sponsored by corona and by geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. >> thom: impressive drive orchestrated by ryan griffin, the rookie out of tulane. 80 yards. the second touchdown catch for andy tanner. 31-23 saints in front with nearly 11 minutes to play here in houston. johnson bobbles in the end zone. he'll bring it out. and o the
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22. all's well that ends well for mr. johnson. rick smith, the general manager of the houston texans back to back divisional champions will join us when we come back. alyou're probably thinkin'' about about fuel economy., well, you're gonna want some rque to go with it - 'cuz unless you're usin' your truck to deliver pizza's... you ain't gettin' anything done without it. torque is power. it pulls trailers. hauls dirt. drags boulders. torque is what gets the cap off your beer. and only the ford f-150 with ecoboost has the best combination of torque and fuel economy. think about that. this is the 2013 ford f-150. no, i promised my son i would school him first.
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but he's asleep, i think the poor kid's a little scared. woah. you ready to lose? you're always ready to lose. rated e for everyone. get madden nfl 25 and any of these products to get a $10 egift card. only at walmart. make sure you're ready and download nfl mobile from verizon. watch nfl redzone and get every nfl touchdown on sunday afternoons. never being without football. that's powerful. verizon.
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>> thom: rick smith was 36 years old when he was named general manager of the houston texans. now a grizzled veteran as he joins us in our fox nfl sunday booth here in houston. on first down. case keenum. his first pass is batted away. tell us about him, rick. we heard so much about him from coach kubiak the other day. i know you guys like him. >> he's done a nice job. he 's a college free agent. had a great career in houston at the university of houston. really understanding what gary wants in the off season. had a nice preseason so far. >> i was asking you a second ago we saw tanner catch a couple of touchdown passes. trying to earn a roster spot. i asked if you are right now watching
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every move on some of the guys who might be sitting on that fence? >> absolutely. you watch as he catches a touchdown, second of t day. he's got to cover the kicks. that's how he's going to make a football team. >> brian: you're cutting down to 75 on tuesday. you're playing on thursday. this is a sunday game. that's a short time. i can't imagine there is a bunch of evaluation at practice between now and thursday. this next thursday is the last chance before you break down to 53. without giving specific names how many guys are we talking about ta you have to make a decision on? >> it's a critical time for those players. you're talking down to four, five guys that have an opportunity to make or break their opportunity here in the national football league. >> thom: the keenum takes off running and slides. you have shared with me a number of times on the air about how
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tough it is to tell a young man that you haven't made the football team. i will ask you, rick, on the other side. what joy it must be to tell a young man he has made the team. >> it's tough when you have to sit down and talk. a lot of times they will share. they could stay at it. if that's the case. >> thom: we talked in the pregame show. i asked brian the question. i will ask you the question. is there a little additional pressure on your franchise this year? you take over. go 8-8, 9-7. back-to-back divisional seasons. you win a playoff game. not many teams can say that. do you feel additional pressure? >> it's not additional
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pressure. it's what we have been building. we put a program in place. we feel this group evolved. we went through things that are important to win a championship. we have a group ready to do that, stay healthy. there is a lot to work in our favor. we are poised to challenge. >> thom: i appreciated ozdy's coaching style. you were together in denver. talk about the give and take and the relationship you and gary have in continuing to build the team. >> you're right. the history or oh the ex appearance of coaching with him gives us an opportunity to communicate. we have been fortunate to be able to explain to scouts the type of players that fit in the system and the schemes we are
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employing. we have been good at identifying them. that has to happen. the texans are going to punt it. i'm curious. your thoughts on that. after the 2010 season. you realize we need to upgrade on defense. is it harder to upgrade a defense or an oh offense in a short amount of time? >> that depends on what the other roster, what the complexion of the roster is. we try to add guys that make impact plays. whether you are talking defensively. guys that can turn the football over. obviously you are talking about guys that are explosive. put the ball in your hands. depends on the complexion of people. >> you know, when you look at your team
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right now, and you've got to be strategic, the hardest thing is always where do i build my depth. if you knew where the injuries would come obviously that would make it easy. as you go into it now is there a part of the team that the depth is not the starters but uh the depth of where you are at any given position is a concern going into the season. >> i wouldn't say necessarily a concern for us across the board. we have a lot of young players. the four, five guys we are talking about that make the football team. we lost guys last year, it seem ed like the inside linebacker position was a position where we lost players. it hurt late the season. i like the guys there. i think we have good depth at that start as well. we have young guys working to make the team. critically that's what will happen in the team. you have to have guys who step up. hopefully we can do
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that. >> your biggest off season signing came with one of my old guys, ed reed. unbelievable player. you knew where ed was. you probably knew this was the way it would go for preseason. no question in my mind he'll be there come the opener. talk about the thought process. >> you are always attempting to bring impact players to the team. from that standpoint is experience he adds to the group. we thought an opportunity to grab a guy and add him to the football team couldn't do anything but help him. >> thom: yes or no question. have you ever had a young man come in the room and you say you're not on the team and it's the wrong dude? tell me. come on now. be honest.
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>> i have a guy outside the door that's telling me who it is. >> thom: apparently brian never had the guy. >> brian: you know, bodies are flying in there. they bring in a guy and i think it's somebody else. i'm looking at his face thinking this guy should know he's on the bubble. i realize this isn't the guy i think it is. i'm cutting the wrong guy. >> you have to have a guy outside the door. >> i responded brilliantly. i realized i told him, you know what, you're a good football player. this is what it feels like to be cut. i don't want to have this conversation. go back to work. >> smart guy. >> thom: that's how you know one guy went to byu and another went to purdue. >> come on. >> thom: you know i'm kidding. we can't thank you enough. >> i love the team. you guys will be fun to watch. >> thom: you have done a fabulous job here. keep up the good work. >> thank you, sir. >> thom: we did invite
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mickey loomis of the saints to join us. he politely declined. we thank rick for coming up. i hope all those at byu know -- >> brian: you'll get lett letters. >> thom: i wanted to go to the fact that mr. smith grew up in the buckeye state. that's what i wanted to get to. beat you up a little bit. >> brian: i have 140,000 people on my tweets. you're going to get letters from all 140,000. >> thom: all in fun. he knows that. all right. we are down to the final five. you compile -- i mean every couple of days as things change. you have been compiling and a power ranking. there are a lot of those out there that i'm with you every week. we have been together over five years now.
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you are breaking it down all the time. here's a long ball knocked out of the hands. >> brian: there are a lot of power rankers out there but only one by a super bowl winning head coach. >> thom: okay. so let's start -- as there is an injured player on the field. we don't want to overlook the fact that -- he came down hard on the ground. perhaps had the wind knocked out of him. they are not looking at any area in particular. we don't know. we'll take a time-out. back in a moment. find chinese restaurant. that's awesome! i know, voice activated and great gas mileage. so much better than choosing voice activated or great gas mileage. that'd be like eating sweet or sour chicken. oh grrrlg what is this?! sour chicken... it's good, right? that'd be awful. i think i like "and" better. and is better. the 2014 focus.
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>> thom: we have 4:38 re paining in houston. second down. the nfl celebrating usa football months recognizing the youth football leagues. coaches and youth football players.
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heads up football. the new program developed by usa football supported by the nfl. dead nated to making the game better and safer. any players of youth football player, ask if your child's coach is heads up certified. if not, send them to and get them certified. >> brian: so important. see what you hit. simple. >> thom: put it down. incomplete. rhett's start in the nfc south. >> brian: again, the numbers on the left is where they are in the overall power ranking. falcons coming off the championship game last year. a lot of people look at new orleans number 16. are they too low? obviously defense, that's the question. how much of a
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difference can they make this year to go with the high powered offense. >> thom: that one is booted into the end zone. 4:19 to play.
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>> thom: 31 to 23 in this, the third preseason game for the saints and houston texans. the starters especially. we saw drew brees and jimmy graham and the saints. case keenum. first down as we promised the power rankings from brian billick. the south texans won it back-to-back years.
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they were challenged by indianapolis. >> brian: that will be a tough battle between the texans and indianapolis. tennessee has a long way to go. i don't know about the quarterback position. the jaguars, to battle between them and the oakland raiders. some people lobbying for the raiders. >> thom: tour technical producer bob miller. our associate director. our broadcast associate jordan wolf. thanks to our spotter in the booth scott snyder. our statistician supreme lobbying for the raiders mr. tom barberi and we tank brian dwyer and mike eldridge. our fox sports crew. you and i looking forward to our first regular season game in the motor city. that nfc north get
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going from the get-go bo the opening weekend. minnesota will visit the detroit lions. >> brian: next week we are at minnesota at chicago. the minnesota vikings to the open the season on the road in the division. they could pull that one-two punch. boy, that makes them the team to beat in the nfc north. >> thom: i want to look at how your power rankings shape up. that's as competitive a division as there is top to bottom. one through four. of any of the entire nfl. i mean, really the afc north. >> brian: how good is the green bay packers? aaron rogers. you have uh to have them there. minnesota, the question is christian ponder. mark trusman. where are the detroit lions? will they revert to
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the playoff form of two years ago or struggle like last year? >> thom: a lot of people are surprised. maybe i'm the only one. that you have green bay that highly rateded. >> brian: aaron ronlers is the best quarterback in the nfl for my money. i think they have help with lacy. the running back, jonathan from -- >> thom: alabama? >> brian: no, no. franklin, excuse me. jonathan franklin. this is going to be a team to deal with. >> thom: we'll look at the afc north when we come back. get the snap off prior to the two-minute warning and they do. a nifty play call there. fumbled out of bounds. that's good. 1:55 to go.

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